29 Apr A Survival Guide for Spring Allergies
While most of us welcome the arrival of longer days, warmer sunshine and blossom on the trees, for some Spring heralds the start of the allergy season and the misery that can bring.
If you’re noticing yourself reaching for the tissues more often over the last few weeks, here’s our guide to the causes, diagnosis and management of seasonal allergies…
Something in the air
As beautiful as they are, spring flowers coming into bloom means an increase in pollen, starting as early as February. Coupled with the beginning of the grass pollen season in some areas of the country, this can leave you with an allergic reaction to this time of year!
As the weather gets warmer and days lengthen, many of us spend more time outside, which means we are more exposed to allergens, although the exact amount can vary from day to day depending on factors such as temperature, rainfall and even time of day.
Later in the summer, hot, humid weather leads to an increase in mould spores, which can also cause allergies.
Spring Time Allergy Symptoms
Airborne allergens like pollen and mould spores can cause allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Symptoms can include:
- Runny nose
- Watery, red or swollen eyes
- Itchy nose, eyes or roof of the mouth
Around a quarter of all people in the UK will experience an allergic reaction at some point in their lives. Allergies occur because the body perceives certain substances as a threat and reacts to protect you from exposure to it.
Unfortunately there is no cure for allergies but there are ways to manage the symptoms. If you are susceptible to spring allergens, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. These include:
- Getting an accurate diagnosis: A respiratory specialist can identify what is causing your allergic reaction using a range of tests including: a skin prick test, blood test, or patch test.
- Once diagnosed there are a range of treatments that you may be able to use, including: antihistamines to prevent allergic reactions; decongestants for a blocked nose; steroids to reduce inflammation; lotions or creams to relieve itching; and immunotherapy for severe symptoms (this works like a vaccine by injecting a small dose of the allergen to help your body build immunity.
- Keeping doors and windows closed at home, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter and being sure to clean areas thoroughly where allergens tend to accumulate (carpets, upholstery, bedding and air filters).
- Changing your clothes when you come home to avoid spreading pollen spores around the house and avoiding hanging clothes to dry outside.
- Showering before you get into bed so you don’t transfer allergens from your hair or face onto your pillow.
- Trying to avoid outdoor activities during the time when pollen is at its highest – normally 5am to 10am.
- Keeping an eye on pollen counts on weather reports and apps.
- Mould can also cause allergies so it is a good idea to keep mould out of your home by removing any build-up from surfaces using a mix of water and bleach, repairing leaks in pipes, windows or roofs and emptying water out of a dehumifidier.
If you have recently developed an allergy or you regularly experience seasonal allergies but have not been able to find a way of managing your symptoms, talk to us about diagnosis and treatment options.
Expert help is available to help you to better understand, manage and improve symptoms related to your respiratory health.
T: 03300 538151